Thursday, January 8, 2015

Legion of Super-Heroes #88

Fast Times

Tom McCraw: Co-Plotter/Colorist
Tom Peyer: Co-Plotter/Scripter
Lee Moder: Penciller
Ron Boyd: Inker
Pat Brosseau: Letterer
Ruben Diaz: Associate Editor
KC Carlson: Editor
Impulse created by Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo

This cover pays homage to the classic Adventure Comics #247 from 1958. On that cover, an astonished Superboy is being denied entry into the Legion of Super-Heroes for having "too ordinary" powers. Here, Impulse finds himself in a similar situation, but has decided to take measures into his own hands by disabling the "No" switches. And while a scene exactly like this doesn't happen in the comic, the main idea is there. Impulse wants to join the Legion, but they don't want him.

So after Impulse failed to return the Legion back to the 30th century, the displaced heroes went back to their makeshift headquarters in Metropolis' S.T.A.R. Labs. To Brainiac 5's astonishment, several of the other Legionnaires in the future managed to project hologram versions of themselves back in time. This group includes Impulse's cousin, XS, but unfortunately he isn't around to see her. Unfortunately, the time-traveling hologram trick doesn't last very long, and they all fade away before Brainiac 5 can finish instructing them on how to build a proper time machine.

The Legion's liaison, Dr. Faulkner, then brings in several congressmen on a tour to secure funding for the lab. They walk past a room full of animal cages, when suddenly, the Impulse from the past pops in the room along with the past versions of the Legion. Impulse accidentally frees Koko the monkey, which latches itself onto Brainiac 5, just as we saw in Impulse #21. The perplexed senators and doctors look on in amazement, and all Cosmic Boy can say is: "I wondered when that was going to happen."

One of the senators then stumbles into Brainiac 5's personal lab as he's conducting a rather dangerous experiment, which bends the laws of physics. The senator panics, so Cosmic Boy saves him by destroying a piece of Brainiac's equipment. In the end, nobody got hurt, but the incident was troubling enough for S.T.A.R. Labs officials to decree that Brainiac 5's experiments be limited and closely monitored.

Chapter 2: A Destructive Impulse

Suddenly, Impulse arrives in a whirlwind. But he's not alone. Max Mercury came with him and asks to talk to Cosmic Boy about Bart. Probably to discuss what happened last issue and/or whether Impulse could join the Legion of Super-Heroes. But anyway, Max and Cosmic Boy leave, and Impulse stays behind with Brainiac 5, desperately wanting to help him with his experiments. At first Brainiac hesitates, but then realizes Impulse's super speed can help him accomplish what he wouldn't otherwise be able to do under this new, stricter observation.

So Brainiac 5 gives Impulse some telepathic earplugs, and sends him running various errands around the lab. But Impulse gets a little too excited, and wants to save a few milliseconds, so he modifies one of Brainiac's instructions. The results are predictably disastrous, and the whole lab begins to fall apart.

Chapter 3: The Lad Who Wrecked the Legion?

Dr. Faulkner and Brainiac 5 assess the damage and find that Impulse crashed the lab's regulatory system, meaning dangerous substances that need to be kept at certain temperatures are now leaking out and could potentially destroy half of Metropolis. So the Legion gets organized and sends everybody out to address a specific problem. Gates rounds up some bugs that have gotten loose, and Spark seals a leak of some toxic material.

Impulse has the most important job — reseting the computer system regulating a radioactive isotope. But all the radiation is interfering with the telepathic earplugs, so Brainiac 5 isn't able to clearly give Impulse the entire code. So Impulse improvises, and pulls Brainiac down to the console to have him put the code in. But Brainiac is too slow, so Impulse somehow moves his hand around faster for him. In the end, the day is saved, but S.T.A.R. Labs is quite upset, and immediately evicts the Legion of Super-Heroes.

They all reconvene at a coffee shop with Max Mercury, and a vote is held to determine if Impulse should join the team. Apparently Brainiac 5 is the only one who voted yes, making Impulse the first hero in history to be denied a spot on this version of the Legion. Impulse isn't surprised, having dreamed about this very scenario back in Impulse #19. Max profusely apologizes for Bart's behavior, and he vows to find the Legion a new headquarters before the day is out. And as the two speedsters leave, Brainiac 5 decides to let Impulse keep the telepathic earplugs.

This was a pretty fun issue, especially the dynamic with Impulse and Brainiac 5. It is a real shame that Impulse didn't get to join the Legion, since that would have been a fun pairing to explore some more. But it does make sense to keep him off the team, since their whole purpose is to return to the future, while Bart has made a pretty nice home for himself in the 1990s. However, I do feel bad for Impulse, who has now been denied entrance to two superhero teams — the first being Justice League Task Force. As a collective whole, this two-part crossover with the Legion of Super-Heroes was very fun, but felt a little lacking. I would have liked them to talk more about the 30th century and to be reminded that Bart was just an infant at that time and can't really connect with them on that front, but still feels like he should. Max Mercury was also conspicuously absent during this whole ordeal. He made a brief appearance at the beginning of Impulse #21, then pretty much disappeared until the ending of this issue. What was he doing the whole time, and what did he discuss with Cosmic Boy? Was he in favor of Bart joining the Legion or was he opposed to it? Either way, it's a moot point now.

I only own the digital copy of this comic, so that means no letters or ads this time. Next time, we'll keep the Legion theme going with a quick Impulse cameo in Sovereign Seven Plus Legion of Super-Heroes #1.

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